For junior creative Savannah Finestone, the last two years have been a creative whirlwind, culminating with three wins at the D&AD New Blood 2019 awards - including the coveted Black Pencil for her work on Adidas’ ‘Make Waves with Waves’ campaign. A Watford College graduate, Savannah was mentored by the infamous Tony Cullingham - a fact made possible by her sponsors, the Creative Circle Foundation. We sat down with self-confessed ‘quirky creative’ Savannah to hear all about her whistle-stop year and what it feels like to literally burst onto the creative scene.
Q> Two years into your career and you’re at a global agency like Ogilvy! How do you feel Creative Circle changed your career prospects?
Savannah Finestone> Creative Circle funded my entire Watford tuition - without them, I wouldn’t have been able to attend. The invaluable workshops they’ve provided, enabling me to rub shoulders with industry greats and meet some of my advertising heroes like Trevor Robinson and Peter Souter, is unparalleled. To be mentored by great creatives like these is a rare opportunity.
They’ve also provided me, and other students, with resources like Awards annuals, Lurzer’s Archive magazines, photography books, stationary and heaps of other goodies that I would never be able to afford otherwise. They’re all such great sources of inspiration and tools to help my creativity.
As for Ogilvy, it’s crazy really. When I first found out about advertising I did a workshop with Gerry Human, Ogilvy’s chief creative officer. Never in a million years I imagined I’d be saying good morning to him every day at work!
Q> What was it like to learn from industry greats such as Tony Cullingham and Trevor Robinson?
Savannah> I fangirled. A lot. Once you get over the star-stricken daze, you just have to be a sponge! Everything they say is like gold dust to budding creatives and learning from their experience is precious. Now it’s my job to apply their knowledge to today’s ad world.
Q> You recently won a D&AD black pencil as well as a yellow and white pencil. How does it feel to be recognised so early on in your career?
Savannah> I’m still buzzing! I have to pinch myself every time I see the pencils on my shelf. It’s a victorious feeling especially as I’m an awards tart! I have no shame in admitting it!
In this industry, people are always going to knock you down and criticise. Winning the awards makes the all-nighters, the tears and the crippling self doubt all worth it, knowing you’ve created something that not only you believe in, but everyone else does too! Winning these awards was validation from the industry that I can come up with an idea and that people get what I’m about.
I’m here to make my mark on this industry and this win has put me on many people’s radar. It feels like now people will give me the time of day and realise “THIS GIRL MEANS BUSINESS.”
Q> Do you have a particular creative process when working on a project?
Savannah> I am Ogilvy’s in-house Love Island guru, so coming up with the concept for British Airways came to me very naturally. I don’t really have a process - my thinking is more like a splatter gun approach. I can’t turn off my brain so things just come to me, usually when I’m in the shower!
I do always think, ‘what would I want to see if I was on the receiving end of my work?’ I want humour, entertainment and something that stops you in your tracks. That’s what I try to achieve in all my work.
Q> Besides the D&AD wins, have you had any other standout moments?
Savannah> Well, nothing can top the moment we were handed a Black Pencil. But, I loved creating a mental campaign for Voxi and Love Island. We worked with a pair of amazing Spanish designers, The Yarza Twins, who brought my wacky ideas to life. I felt like a proud mother when it went live!
Voxi Villa from Yarza Twins on Vimeo.
Q> You seem to be brimming over with ideas! Where does this creativity go to outside of work?
Savannah> As a writer in advertising you’re always told to use as few words as possible to make the punchiest statement. I’m not a girl of few words so this is agony for me! What started out as a joke and a way for me to indulge my verbose vice has become my side hustle. I write ridiculously extravagant food reviews
on Instagram, all in the tone of a highly regarded food critic with my friend @kevssnackreviews
. But instead of Michelin class fare, I review the likes of Cornettos and Twinkies. The foodie fans drool over them and know me as The Peckish Poet. I’m happy to take requests for any noms you want me to write about!
Q> Do you have any words of advice for young creatives also at the start of their careers?
Savannah> Be honest, be humble and be nice. This industry is so small, everyone talks and no one wants to work with you if you’re a dick. Don’t think that you know everything because you’ve got so much to learn and you’ll never stop. It’ll feel like you don’t have a clue what’s going on most of the time and that never stops either! But that’s the fun of this crazy industry! It’s just finding your own style and making work that you enjoy creating.
To help support the next generation of brilliant creatives like Savannah, become a Creative Circle member here.